Happy, happy birthday! I say this every year, but it boggles my mind that you’re turning 7. 7 is half way to 14 and a third of the way to 21 and that right there makes my head explode. Those ages seem so far away, but look how fast the past 7 years have gone! Sometimes I worry that if I blink, I’m going to miss something.
I’m sure I told you this before, but when I was pregnant with you I was convinced I was having a girl. I don’t know why- but I was sure. And then you were born. And when the doctor told me it was a boy, I was disappointed- there was a pang in my heart and a lifetime of pink and bows and girl talk flashed before my eyes. But then I saw you and in an instant all that disappointment was gone. I wouldn’t have cared if you were half donkey at that point- you were mine and I was yours and that was all that mattered. And that is all that has mattered these past 7 years.
When you were younger, your Dad and I thought for sure we had you pegged. When you grew up, you were going to be a sports announcer. Or a paleontologist. Or a fireman. Now, we don’t have a clue. And that’s awesome. While I do miss the baby you were, I’m so stinking excited to see where life takes you. You’re curious about everything and you read book about everything from Star Wars to bird watching. You want to know more and more about what you hear in the news or read on the magazine covers in the check out line of the grocery store. You want to know how to spell everything and I saw your eyes light up last night when I explained to you that “quesadillas” starts with a “q” and not a “c” like it sounds. Who knows- maybe you’ll be a teacher or a linguist.
Six was an awesome year for you. You finished kindergarten and started 1st grade and you continued to thrive in school. You played Little League and football and discovered that you’re absolutely crazy about basketball. You fought Darth Maul and kicked his butt. You battled your anxiety every damn day to keep moving forward and, even when it was hard and scary, you didn’t stop. You still wanted to hold my hand, but you worried about what your friends would think if they saw you still holding a stuffed animal. You realized that you don’t need one best friend in the world and that you can be friends with everyone- so you are. Walking through the school hallways with you is like walking with the Mayor as you’re greeted by everyone from the 3 year olds to 6th graders. And all of that makes me so proud some days that I just want to burst.
But as much as I’d like to freeze time, I can’t and now you’re 7. And I can’t wait to see what 7 brings for you. Here is what I wish for you-
– I wish that you keep your kind heart. Right now you’re nice to everyone and I don’t ever want that to stop. I want you to have compassion and goodness and to hold on to those traits until you take your last breath.
– I wish that you find that fine line between being a rule follower and an a dare devil. I hope you realize what rules must be followed and which rules you can break and I hope you learn to embrace your adventurous side. As your mom, I always want to keep you safe and within the boundaries, but as a woman who’s lived almost 35 years, I know some of the most fun you’ll ever have is when you say “screw it” and hop off the beaten path.
– I wish you the strength to keep battling your anxiety so you can live life with as little fear as possible.
– I wish you the continued knowledge of your self. To know that you’re a good, kind, smart boy who doesn’t need validation from your peers to love yourself. You. Are. Awesome.
– I wish that your relationship with your sister continues to be so close. I tell you guys this all the time, but you’re stuck with each other forever and that is one of the best gifts we could have ever given you. Trust me on that- even when she’s calling you a butt head and throwing your things in the back of the van just to piss you off- you’re lucky.
– I wish that you know that you’ll always have your father and my love. No matter what the reason- a failed test, a lost game, a friend hurt, a relationship lost- we’ll always love you, support you and be by your side. Promise.
– I wish that you keep using your manners with everyone. There is nothing that will serve you better in this life than your manners and your kindness. Be respectful to your elders and your friends. Pay attention when we talk to you about how to treat people and always, always tip well for good service. You will never, ever regret doing any of those things but you may regret it if you don’t.
Let’s face it, buddy- I wish you the world and I love you more than chocolate milk. Have a happy, happy birthday!